A Christmas with a mugger and to end up in Costa Rica for New Year's Eve

December 31, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 1 Comments



So, my board is broken. I wait for a new one and it will be sent to me within a couple of weeks. Anders gave up his bike to. It had given him too many flats and broken spokes and he didn't seem to enjoy the Panamanian mountains anymore. We will have a couple of weeks going by bus instead. We were thinking both of us deserved a normal and relaxing time spent together.

We started at Lost & Found, a hostel were Anders had stayed for a while and had made friends. It was great to see him again, had longed for that moment for so long. Nothing else there, just the mountains and the nature. Well, hammocks and the chilly air too.

Lost & Found gave us time to drink some Gin & Tonic and watch animals in the jungle I had never heard of before and others I had been looking forward to see, as sloths. We also met some Swedes who we joined for a day and we went swimming in waterfalls, in a canyon and in some hot springs. Lovely days.












Christmas
Christmas was coming up and we decided to go to the well-known Bocas del Toro at the Caribbean coast. The turquoise water and the mangroves was a nice contrast to the mountains and a water taxi took us to the island called Bastimentos where we had time to do a hike along the coast, palm fringed beaches colored with white sand and clear water. The jungle was literally on the beach, green leaves framed pictures in my camera display. Two steps in from the beach you could find the trail covered with mud and cute but poisonous red frogs decorated the path.

We woke up in time for a family gathering on Skype on a bad internet connection moment. It was nice to see them, truly. We started a hike again, took off to Wizard beach. The trail was hard to follow and muddy, all the sounds of the nature was intense though the creatures of the jungle was hiding from us.

Finally a long and, what appeared to us as, empty beach was in front of us and when the waves were to high shoes were soaked and laughter was loud. We were aiming for next destination, a coffee farm up amongst the hills. A couple on the beach we hadn't noticed before told us where to and Anders went ahead.

All of a sudden I heard him scream from above, "run, run, run". I was looking up to were he stood, waiting for me, and saw the reason. A man with a machete was running towards him, his face all covered up and with hunter eyes. I felt fear and ran back from where I came. Anders took the lead, I was running downhill but sprained my ankle pretty bad and lost speed.

Every time I looked behind me he was still there, yelling "Para, para!". My guess was it meant "Stop" but I couldn't. Started to scream, me as well, hoping that someone in the jungle would hear us, at least the couple on the beach. Being chased by a man with a machete wasn't exactly something I had prepared myself to.

We reached the beach, made the other couple aware of the danger and ran into the water. The man didn't give up and pointing with his big knife at us, one at the time, we did what he told us to do. Gave him all our money having faith in his assurance that he wouldn't hurt us if we did. He left, disappeared into the jungle again and there we were, poorer but still alive and with our cameras and cell phones left. We gave up our plans to go to the farm and scared of every little sound of the jungle we went back through mud and rainforest. Late Christmas Eve became a night talking, drinking and feeling grateful for being safe together.
















Going to Costa Rica
We spent a night in Bocas town, known for "all night parties" and all kind of life related to that. Still shaken up from the night before we went to bed pretty early to have some sleep before the next day of crossing the border to Costa Rica.

The land border procedure was as time consuming and ineffective as we were expecting it to be but once in a new country it wasn't too far to the lazy town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Here we recovered from stress, drank mojitos in sunsets with caribbean live band playing and watched surfers trying to master the huge waves, for several days.

Since one of us are running out of time we catched an early bus all the way across the country to reach a hard raining La Fortuna last afternoon. We will try to catch a glimpse of Volcan Arenal shaped as the perfect cone here but until now the rain and the clouds are teasing us.









1 comments:

And so I went back to my biker

December 20, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments



Two scared rabbits jumped away while I did my walk in the dark and cold night to the bus station of my home town around midnight. The streets where empty except for me, randomly passing cars and the small animals I just frightened. I had many hours left until I could rest from traveling. The weight from my backpack on my shoulders was heavy, already burdened with grief and worries about family members, the reason I left Panama to go home for a period. I found my bus, got off at the first stop at Gothenburg and realized that my imagined idea of a nap at the bus station were going to change to a walk through a town of dimmed lights and doors closed due to the late hour, just to keep myself warm until the next bus arrive. The rain and the wind were unmerciful to my face and me, not dressed for "December Sweden", was freezing. I managed to find a pizzeria which was obviously closing, but still willing to serve a frozen traveler in need. They offered me to sit down and I eagerly ate a Kebab roll while the rain made nasty sounds towards the windows.

My next bus was not fully booked and since I had a 4 hours ride to Copenhagen I could curl up in a double seat. Sleep didn't bother to find me for longer periods though but I guess I had some, because the bus ride felt shorter than expected and I could embrace the early morning hour at Kastrup, the airport of Copenhagen.

Before take off I had a mission. I had to find somewhere to print the bus ticket which was the proof for the immigration office in Panama and to the airline company that I had no intention to stay in Panama forever. The ticket had become one more thing to worry about since my last enter to Panama almost had become a "no entry moment" and the purchased online ticket which now was supposed to be sent to my email hours earlier hadn't been there until 10 minutes ago.

My plan was to look for the Hilton hotel attached to the terminal and hopefully find a friendly face in the reception who could help me with my issue. I put some lip-gloss on, organized my tangled hair and tried not to look like the homeless and desperate woman I was. I didn't even have to walk to the hotel, the woman at the airports information desk where I asked for the direction helped me right away. Less stress, good. I was ready to sit down for a coffee and then to start my travels to Panama City via Paris, Charles de Gaulle. Hours of naps, movies, snacks and Sudoku began and the terrible tiredness I felt when I finally sat down in the shared and awfully expensive taxi from Tocumen airport was almost so bad that I couldn't enjoy the chat with my fellow traveler, the still warm evening and the skyline I knew from before. But only almost. That night I slept for hours and hours and I woke up in the morning with new energy for another day of travels, this time to reunite with the boyfriend waiting for me in the middle of nowhere and whom I have missed so much.

0 comments:

Going home and longing back

December 04, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments

To change this…


for this...


I write from Sweden. Family matters made me catch a flight back home as fast as possible, to the cold and dark winter I have tried to stay away from and I will be around until the 18th of December. To be with the ones that I need right now, and who need me as well.

I left "my biker" in Panama, in order to fulfill my plans or to make his own until I come back to spend Christmas with him and hopefully to continue to live the life I intended to. Brought my trailer and my Subsonic board to Sweden and will try to find some time to further changes since my board actually seemed to be broken during my last pushing day.

Be patient and give me strength! My heart must be here right now, in the country with less sun and without the green and lush rainforests but with family and caring friends close by. Though, I must say, a little piece of it are longing for new rides and for the one I left behind.

0 comments:

Electronic failures and how to extend your stay

November 27, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 3 Comments



I don't seem to have any luck with my electronics. My batteries and accessories for my Go Pro camera never seemed to work properly, my cell phone gave up a couple of days ago and my keyboard for my tablet have started to act more and more strange. Today I finally gave up on it and now I try to learn how to use the integrated keyboard which I find very difficult and extremely slow. Have patience with me! I guess posts will be shorter from now on. ;)



Anyway, everything else is great! We decided to stay in San Carlos, or El Palmar to be correct, for two nights. Two became three and three became four. We had a day trip to Elle Valle del Antón yesterday and today we were about to leave. Well, after breakfast Anders glanced at the hammock and I could see that today wasn't the day either. I am not in a hurry and I guess Anders found out how to relax too. Tomorrow will be the day... I believe.















3 comments:

Arraiján to Carpita and then some hammock life in San Carlos

November 26, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments


The following days included more up- and downhills. The entire way, no flat roads. I couldn't keep up with Anders speed. To compromise so he wouldn't be bored but I still could push my longboard every day I took the bus for some parts of the road. We had a night in the little town of Carpita, at the only hostel we could find, had an evening meal among drunken locals and spent the rest of the Saturday night trying to get some sleep while the citizens of Carpita decided to start a street party pretty late and continue until early morning. Meaning, not very much sleep for us.



I was in pretty bad shape. My hip joints and one knee was in pain and my muscles sored. On top on that I had cramps in my stomach and an incipient headache. It felt like I was old and grumpy (which I'm not) and I had to convince myself several time during the day that this was actually what I wanted. To live a longboard life for a year! Well, it wasn't really hard to do if I just gave myself some time to rest once in a while. I also had some good experience with locals offering me water along the way and stopping me for a nice chat. They in Español, me in Inglés/Español. They all helped me and encouraged me to continue!


We managed to meet up right before San Carlos where we had decided to camp for a couple of nights. I had read that camping on beaches was allowed everywhere in Panama but when we entered the beach the sign was pretty clear. No camping allowed!


Asked around and everybody said that camping could be hard since the beach and the tide wasn't in our favour. Instead we found a relaxed and nice hostel with hammocks all around and welcoming people who seemed to like being accompanied by a biker and a skater. We decided to stay in that pretty little place, where you could hear the waves from the frontyard and read books in hammocks, for a few days. To be kind to body and to be kind to soul!

0 comments:

Leaving Panama City and trying to keep the speed of a biker

November 24, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments



The taxi driver dropped me off at a bus stop at the same time people quit work and the road was filled with people, all staring at me when I set up my equpiment. I put my things together as fast as I could and started in a slow pace up the first hill. The traffic was heavy, the shoulders littered and even if they were wide enough, cars, buses and trucks were close and I was nervous. It took a while but then I felt more self confident and I could concentrate on the not so steep but long uphills. My legs were sored and my head wanted to be released from my helmet. Hot, sweating, struggling.

Downhill was something else. I used my soles to brake once again and could feel how the asphalt ate them but was to afraid of the speed that came immediately. When I finally felt a little bit braver I gave one hill a try. Unfortunately I had to swerve for some potholes in the road and my trailer, which I thought where more stable after some adjustments, turned over again. I could hear it scraping after my longboard but instead of slowing me down it went back for a while then rolled over again. I couldn't find the balance to foot brake and had to wait until next uphill before I stopped rolling. Looked at the damages, ignored them for the moment and went on, more careful but also annoyed with the fact that my equipment still didn't work.

I was expecting Anders to catch up on me but guessed he had left later from Panama City than expected. A camera flash went off from one of the passing cars, I heard whistles and saw thumbs up all the way, even from a police car. At one point a couple of dogs where a little bit to curious about my longboard and I was nervous because my earlier experiences with dogs and my Subsonic board wasn't great. Those two were sniffing around and I did my best to ignore them and hoped they choosed not to play with my board or attack it. They left and so did I. Glad that I didn't have to defend my belongings.


My legs started to be so tired that I didn't trust them and even if I hadn't pushed my board for slightly more than seven kilometers I felt relieved when I saw our meeting point. Ten minutes later I was accompanied by my biker again and we had a nice meal in a asian restaurant before we went looking for somewhere to sleep. No camping today either. We found a small hotell in the small village of Arraiján.

0 comments:

Panama City and to meet the one you have missed

November 23, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments



Like I had been before I was once again denied access to something I had planned. Last time I was stopped at the enterence at Joshua Tree National Park. This time they wouldn't let me board the flight to Panama until I had some kind of proof that I also was planning to leave the country within three months. "Easy to solve", I thought and as the LAX (Los Angeles Airport) had free wifi I started to google "How to leave Panama by bus + cheap". I found two companies, both made it impossible to purchase a ticket online and after one hour searching for a solution I kindly asked the girls at the check in desk to help out. Fifteen minutes later I had a reservation in december to Nicaragua, by airplane. Nobody would ask for it when I entered Panama I asumed but if I was wrong I could at least give them something. My plan is still to leave by longboard and enter Costa Rica though.

I heard my name in the speaker at the security control. Ran as soon as my shoes were on my feet again and my computer was down in the case. The friendly girl who had helped me with my reservation was there to escort me and once on the plane I could stretch my legs out on three seats all by my own. The night arrived and above the clouds I had a nice slumber before the cabin crew asked me if I wanted pancakes for breakfast.



I couldn't help smiling in the overpriced taxi from the airport. The smell of the humid Panamanian air, the pleasent heat, the many skyscrapers which we drove into in a zigzagging and jumpy minibus and the few minutes left until I should meet the man I hadn't seen for more than six weeks. I knew he would smile to. And so he did...

We spent the next day enjoying each others company, exploring the city and trying to learn how to handle the heavy traffic by foot. Didn't know until later that we had tried the areas tourists are told to stay away from both day and night. We were still safe though. Later Anders bought a bike and tried the streets of Panama City on rubber wheels too.

Panama City is spread out and we had to take taxi once in a while too. It is supposed to be cheap and it happens that you actually are given a fair price from time to time. Mostly, I must say, it was the "tourist fare" that we were offered.



We did most of the things you are supposed to do once in Panama City. Had a walk in the old town and then home through Via España with its shopping (we saved our money though), took a taxi to Panama Canal and watched boats pass, walked the Amador Causeway with a splendid view over the city's skyline and did the same along the water closer to town. Same view but closer. We also had fish chevishe at the lively fish market. A new taste, a good one.



Organized our things and a late afternoon we went off, left the city. Anders had to take his bike out of town, again through qarters we were told to stay away from. I knew he would be fine but didn't like it. I took a taxi to a safer spot where I could begin the climb up and down the green hills outside Panama City.

0 comments:

San Diego in my heart

November 20, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments

OB pier. 💓 #OB #OceanBeach #SanDiego #California

Ett foto publicerat av Longboard Lady (@_longboardlady_)

Going back to San Diego was something extra. Before I left home I was excited about the adventure in the desert but, most of all, my heart was already in Ocean Beach, SD.

I spent almost three weeks there. Went to Californian beaches with long and winding piers, watched the surfers waiting for the morning waves, was blessed with sunsets, spread out my blanket in lovely Balboa Park, admired the skyline of San Diego from Coronado, heard the beat of Gaslamp Quarter, walked in my favorite neighbourhood in Banker's Hill, took my bike, which was still there, along Sunset Cliffs and tried well-known areas with my longboard.

I also met a lot of old and dear friends, had new ones and experienced the American way to celebrate Halloween. Did some hiking, drank some wine and slept until the sun woke me up again. Had some road trips, gave my skin a new colour, danced salsa with a lot of spins, and Bachata and Merengue. Watched the sky and the airplanes every day and made visits to the Farmer's Markets.

I left with tears in my eyes but will probably come back with new smiles.

0 comments:

The push towards Ocean Beach and the fear of asphalt

November 19, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments



I was, all of a sudden, in a hurry. Tina, the long distance bicyclist I had shared the camping spot with had already put her tent together and it looked as she was ready to leave when I asked her when she thought they expected me to be out from the camp. "I think now", she said and my plans of a second cup of coffe was not as important anymore. The time was 9.03 am and I guessed that Tinas "now" was three minutes ago. Well, to put all my things together in a well balanced way took time and even if I didn't have my second cup of coffe I wasn't done until almost one hour later. Bye bye, Encinitas.

I headed slightly downhill for a while in a nice pace and in a good mood, then uphill and in to the small town of Solana where I found an excellent place for some breakfast and an even better thing, great internet connection. Time flew and I was chatting with my loved back home, did some blogging and some other online errands. When I finally left again the afternoon had caught up on me. It was uphill but climbing wasn't as strenuous as expected.




The climb resulted in one of the longest, and quite steep, downhills I had faced and I feared I couldn't handle the speed. I made it, part by part. Slower than walking I guess and probably leaving traces of shoe soles when braking. When I finally had the courage to let go and increased speed I saw a big gap between the slabs on the bridge in front of me which undoubtedly and abruptly would stop my wheels and I had to bail out. Two bikers behind me almost hit the board which went on by itself and then continued, heading towards traffic. Cars honking, me scared but thankful for being safe again. My board was still with me.

I was in a beautiful place, Torrey Pines State Beach just before the next climb, but I couldn't really enjoy it, still suffered from my earlier traffic experience. I was also aware of the late afternoon darkness which approached and I caught a bus to have time to find a new camp ground.

What happend next is a long story but to shorten it let's say that the bus took me in the wrong direction, I was saved by an internet connection at a shopping mall and a friend I had met before, I spent the night sleeping in a car and ended up on the right side of the Torrey Pines the next, very early morning.

Ate some almonds and cheese for breakfast on a bench in the fancy La Jolla Shores, brushed my teeth in the public restroom there and was watched by the friendly but suspicious guard who seemed to be overlooking the area in that early morning hour. Some early joggers showed up along the beach, the surfers where already in the water to catch the waves. I left. The coast was beautiful and dramatic and even if I had seen it before, two years earlier, I couldn't have enough. I had to move on though. San Diego was calling.




When I pushed my longboard into my "old" neighbourhood I couldn't get rid of that stupid smile of mine. It felt like I left only a couple of weeks ago and the distinct smell of pot reached my nose. This was OB. People smoked, someone was playing the guitar in the street and the green little cottage I once said goodbye to was still there waiting for my arrival. I rang the bell, so many memories.

0 comments:

Los Angeles and how to find squared wheels

November 16, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments




I spent the next days in Los Angeles behind my screen, searching for help with my matter of lost wheel grip and wrong balance of weight on my trailer. I finally decided to try those wheels I had been curious in for a while, Shark Wheels. We found the store but it was during a weekend and everything was closed down. Took a chance and had a look behind the buiding and lucky as we were we found the guys in a garage where funny looking wheels were constructed. We had a tour among square shaped urathane in different colours and choosed some yellow ones for a good price.

Reorganizing my things to put more weight on my shoulders and hips took time and I wasn't found of the idea to carry more in a backpack but less baggage on the trailer made me find the balance again and I was eager to go for another pushing adventure to try it all out. To see how it worked in a safer environment, never too far from a skate shop and with no need of several gallons of water before take off. I was very self confident. Daniel had been the most excellent travel partner, a great and appreciated friend and also very, very helpful. I had been lost without him. Grateful but with that well-known restless feeling and desire to be off by my own I said goodbye and left him waving at the train station. I know that feeling isn't going away, I can't ignore it.

Oceanside train station, simply had to pick one place to start my new longboard settings on and it seemed to be in a fair distance from San Diego where I had decided to stop among friends for a while. I calculated for a couple of nights camping and started my skating again. It seemed to work, it really did! The breeze from the ocean and the amazing views of the sand coloured coast that the sun turned to gold in front of my eyes made me as happy as one can be. Realized again that I was free from all responsabilities and able to do whatever came into my mind.



Miles where added, people where stopping me everywhere to ask me about my travels and how it was to travel on squared wheels. I let one man try my board for a while, nervous that he would run away with all of my belongings. The roads where quite good all way. It wasn't flat as "Salton Sea flat", nor to steep hills either. I made it much longer than planned and ended up in a nice little campground in Cardiff, Encinitas. Shared a little spot for "Hikers and bikers" with an interesting long distance cyclist from Holland, Tina. Watched the sky turn to red with her as a company and then had an early night in my ground camping hammock.

I fell asleep with the sounds of the waves rolling in and a train whistle in the distance. A good feeling, this was what I had waited for and I longed for the morning to come and to have another beautiful day with my long distance longboard.


0 comments:

A nice arrival to Borrego Springs and to realize that your equipmentdoesn't work

November 15, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments

Wildflowers in Anza Borrego
We left the flat roads and hot area of Salton Sea, placed me, my longboard and the trailer in a fair distance from Borrego Springs. Right in the middle of the huge Anza Borrego desert. While I was organizing my stuff the local sheriff pulled over and asked us what we were up to. Daniel explained the purpose of the unusual outfit while I made myself ready to go, tried to eavesdrop and finally included myself in the conversation.

The sheriff expected me to be one of the more adventurous longboarders going up for the steep hills to find the speed down. Dangerous and not my cup of tea, I explained. "Well", the Sheriff told me, "If you are continuing with those crazy ideas you have to place yourself on the other side of the road. From now on you are not a bike, you are a pedestrian."

All my efforts to make my trailer visible from behind was for nothing, my red back light and my orange little flag wasn't needed anymore but I really didn't care. To continue on the other side were going to be a totally different feeling but I would be a lot safer in that high speed traffic I was surrounded with.

I expected the upcoming miles to be easily ridden but, I was wrong again. The road was even worse than earlier and for every push I did the board lost its grip. Couldn't really figure out what was wrong but the balance seemed lost in a way, it couldn't be the road condition by itself that made the difference.

Slow as I was I gave the desert some attention as well. Wildflowers were blooming, not in large quantities but still, I was surprised. I knew the area had had even less water than expected recently and to see life in this inhospitable climate was nice.

The last mile was excellent. Smooth road which was so much nicer to my asphalt-smelling wheels and when I reached the green and lush Borrego Springs I had a good feeling again. I asked Daniel to have a look at my equipage while I was pushing and he confirmed my apprehensions. I was to tail heavy, at least with gallons of water attached to the trailer and it didn't match with my pushing style. How to take care of the problem in the middle of the desert was however still an issue.

We had another amazing camp among snooping coyotes and a bright moon. In the morning Daniel had a call from his work who asked him to come in as fast as possible. My choices were between to be by myself for many days on board with an equipment that didn't work or to join right then, no stops. I was happy for Daniel who had been waiting for that call to come but realized that I had made myself dependent on him or at least some help when I started my trip in the desert without knowing my longboard's pros and cons. I left the desert and the beautiful mountains of Anza Borrego for Los Angeles traffic but also skateshops around every corner.

0 comments:

The colours of Salvation Mountain and a less scary Slab City

November 10, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments



We left our free spot we were offered last night in the RV park pretty early, went back to the rough road which we left yesterday and headed toward Salvation Mountain by car. My board couldn't handle the asphalt here and I was still confused about the long and time consuming distances. We expected a crowd of tourists when we arrived but like the other day it seemed like people doesn't bother to go into the desert area of Salton Sea in late October. We had the place to ourself. Well, we shared it with the cats who followed us, I guess we were visitors of there home.










Leonard Knight, the man who settled himself out there in the desert, had created a beautiful world for himself and his savior, Jesus. For me it was first too much of all the religious words painted on cars, mailboxes and the "mountain" but then even I, a person with a lot of opinions regarding religion, could see the beauty and the love he shared with his God. Leonard passed away a couple of years ago but there is still an organisation trying to preserve the work he has done. Not an easy thing to do when paint is falling apart and human shoes are stomping on the colourful ground.


Slab City.


We left it in the evening before, dark and kind of friendly but in an offensive way that actually scared us a bit. This day that feeling was totally gone and the RV:s seemed to welcome us, strangers as we were. A "Hi" here and a nod there. We took a closer look at a place that said "Open" but couldn't find anyone there. Cute place anyway. We went back to the car. Me, glad that we went there again and that I now can remember Slab City as a nice and happy place to be.











0 comments: